Migrant workers have been better at holding down their jobs during the recession than their British-born counterparts.
Official statistics have revealed that during the first quarter of this year British-born workers left employment at four times the rate of migrant workers.
The number of British-born workers in employment fell by 451,000 – or 1.8% – in the first quarter of this year compared with a year ago, while the number of migrant workers with jobs rose by 129,000, or 3.5%.
The figures come as hundreds of workers stage wildcat strikes across the country in protest at claims contractors have reneged on an agreement to seek local labour over migrant workers.
Andrew Green, chairman of campaign group Migrationwatch UK, told the Financial Times: “Foreign-born workers are faring better than British-born ones as the recession bites. We must face up to this and take serious measures to tighten the points-based [immigration] system for the benefit of British workers.”
But Sarah Mulley of the Institute for Public Policy Research said foreign-born workers were doing better because the immigration system was geared to selecting the most employable people and they tended to work in sectors where there were labour shortages.
She said: “I haven’t seen any evidence that says employers are firing British workers because they are less productive than foreign-born workers.”